SWASHBUCKLED! (S2E6): Italian-ish

This week, we go deep into Marie’s Italian roots to make something, kind-of, Italian-ish? None of the ingredients that were provided were very Italian-y, but they all were delicious to eat on their own, and in the dish!

Watch this week’s episode here:


Ingredients Featured in This Week’s Episode:


 

This week, we dive deep into Marie’s “non-white girl” roots, and make some vegetarian stuffed peppers and take a fun twist on a traditional caprese salad.

The stuffed peppers are full of fiber from the veggies, whole wheat cous cous and black beans, while being packed with flavor from the jalapeño artichoke dip and fragrant cheeses. We both loved the stuffed peppers and preferred the green ones over the yellow (which was a surprise to us both!)

The caprese salad was a slam dunk…if you removed the chocolate. Cherries with Mozzarella and Basil was a delicious flavor combination. The dark chocolate pretzels made things a little weird, so when you make this at home (which you should!) we recommend just saving the pretzels on the side to eat on their own (a perfect dessert!)

 

Black Bean Cous Cous and Veggie Stuffed Peppers.png

Black Bean, Cous Cous and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • Cous Cous, cooked according to package directions (1 cup water + 1 Cup Cous Cous + 1 Tbsp butter + Salt)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 zucchini quartered and sliced
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup Artichoke and Jalapeño Dip
  • 12 Tbsp Quatro Fromaggio (divided so each bell pepper gets 2 tbsp)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Rinse bell peppers and slice in half. Remove seeds. Rub all sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place bell peppers skin side up on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or foil). Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced onion, celery and carrots. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for a few more minutes. Then add mushrooms, butter, salt, pepper and oregano.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cup of the cooked cous-cous mixture (can save the rest to use as a salad topper), can of black beans, and tomato sauce. Let cook down for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked through. Mix in artichoke & jalapeño dip thoroughly.
  4. Remove roasted bell peppers from the oven. Turn over. Place 1 tbsp of Quattro Fromaggio cheese at the bottom, fill with 1/6 of the filling mixture, then finish with another tbsp of cheese.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.


Cherry Caprese Salad

Cherry Caprese Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 18 Reinier Cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 package mozzarella balls (about 12), halved
  • Large handful of basil (about 20 leaves), Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Fresh Ground Salt and Pepper (about 1/4 tsp each)
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Optional (and not recommended): Chocolate covered Pretzels

Directions

  1. Rinse cherries, pit and halve them, Combine in a bowl with mozzarella balls and basil. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with balsamic glaze on top.
  2. We added the chocolate covered pretzels as the challenge for this dish, but it definitely didn’t do this beautiful and delicious salad any flavors. We made it again without the pretzels and it was so great. But the pretzels were fantastic on their own!


 

 

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Meal Prep Monday: Lentil, Beet and Blue Cheese Salad

A couple weeks ago, I shared some ideas for meal prep that was so easy, you could do it Monday morning instead of slaving away on Sundays.

This week we have a nutrient packed salad that is loaded with robust flavors, and a ton of fiber and protein.

Meal Plan Monday Square

We start with a bed of Arugula, which is a peppery type of green (an also one of my favorites to use in salads). Then we put a layer of shaved Brussels sprouts, pre-cooked lentils, roasted beets, and blue cheese.

If you’re a vegetarian, you can stop there, or if you are looking for a bit more protein, you can top with just chicken. For extra color and a pop of a bold flavor, you can add chopped fresh basil to the top.

Meal Plan Monday Fearless Flying Kitchen ingredients

All these ingredients were divided evenly in five containers, one for each day of the week. I only used a fraction of the blue cheese for the five salads, probably 1-2 Tbsp per salad. The thing I like about bold cheeses, like blue, feta, parmesan and goat, are that a little goes a long way!

The chicken only went into three of the salads (due to the expiration date coding), so I also picked up some fresh chicken to bake up on Wednesday and use part of it for lunches on Thursday/Friday, and eat part of it for dinner Wednesday night.

Meal Plan Monday Fearless Flying Kitchen with chicken

This week, I paired the salad with our old stand-by, the Tuscan Italian dressing. If we were having this at home, I would just toss it with a little bit of olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.

Trader Joe's Tuscan Italian Dressing

Super simple, fresh ingredients, lots of flavor, and really easy to assemble. It will take a max of 10 minutes. What else can go in your lunch? A handful of your favorite nuts for a snack. Fresh fruit (there are so many to choose from these days). Baby carrots or sliced celery or cucumbers.

Lentil, Beet and Blue Cheese Salad

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: SO EASY!
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Arugula
  • 1 bag Shaved Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 container Pre-Cooked Lentils
  • 1 package Steamed and Peeled Baby Beets
  • 1/2 cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • 1-2 packages “Just Chicken” (Pre-Cooked chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 cup packed Fresh Basil Leaves,

Directions

Divide all ingredients evenly into five containers in the order listed. Cover and store for up to a week. Note that the “Just Chicken” has a limited “sell by” date. You can divide one package between three of the salads and then purchase another package mid-week, or just have the other two salads be meat-free.


Spinach, Mushroom & Beef Lasagna

Spinach Mushroom Beef Lasagna

Growing up, lasagna was this elusive meal only consumed by cats that sounded like Bill Murray. For some reason, we never ate it at my house. Perhaps it is the lack of Italian ancestors in my family tree? I am not sure.

Any who, fast forward about 20 years, my best friend invites me to her dad’s lasagna party. Every year, her very Italian (and awesome) father cooks multiple pans of delicious lasagna and opens his home to about a hundred of their closest family and friends. This was one of the best parties ever, not only because the wine flowed as fast as the videos of Father Guido Sarducci, but the lasagna was incredible. Now, long story short, at this point in my life, I had eaten my fair share of lasagna, but I still hadn’t ever made it. So, when the time came, I asked my friend to give me some pointers, and what does she do? She straight up gives me a link to re-create her fathers lasagna. Score! So, for the past few years, this has been a stand-by recipe. Only recently have I started to alter it to make it more of “my own.”

I did a couple of tweaks to make it a healthier choice, such as swapping regular ricotta for non-fat, decreasing the amount of meat, and using more veggies. And I am willing to bet that as soon as TJ’s starts to carry whole wheat lasagna noodles, that will be another swap!

Spinach and Mushroom Beef Lasagna

 

lasagna ready for oven Fearless Flying Kitchen

Ready for the oven!

Ingredients:

  • Lasagna Sauce (see recipe below)
  • Ricotta Cheese Mixture (see recipe below)
  • 1 bag mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package (12) lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (Fresh if possible)
  • 1 tbsp butter

Directions:

  1. Make sauce (see below)
  2. Make ricotta mixture (see below)
  3. Butter 13×9 dish
  4. Assemble: noodle, 1/2 ricotta, 1/3 sauce, mozzarella, noodle, 1/2 ricotta, 1/3 sauce, mozzarella, noodle, 1/3 sauce, Parmesan and a little more mozzarella (but not too much)
  5. Bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Let sit a few minutes prior to serving.

Lasagna Sauce

Spinach Mushroom Beef Lasagna from The Fearless Flying KitchenIngredients

  • 1 lb 96/4 ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bag mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach
  • 1 jar Tomato Basil pasta sauce

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, start to brown ground beef. Once it starts to release its juices, add diced onions and cook until meat is starting to brown and onions are starting to soften. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms begin to soften. Add pasta sauce and put to simmer on a low heat for about a half an hour. Towards the end, add spinach until just wilted and remove from heat.

Ricotta Cheese Mixture

Spinach Mushroom Beef Lasagna from The Fearless Flying KitchenIngredients:

  • 1 container non- fat ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 2 tsp basil, dried
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined.

Suggested pairings: 

A nice Chianti

sautéed zucchini sprinkled with parmesan cheese

A light salad with balsamic glaze, meyer lemon olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper